Challis (fabric)

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Challis, sometimes referred to as challie[1] or chally,[2] is a lightweight woven fabric, originally a silk-and-wool blend, which can also be made from a single fibre, such as cotton, silk or wool,[3] or from man-made fabrics such as rayon.[4] It was first manufactured in Norwich, England, in about 1832, when it was designed as a thin, soft material similar to Norwich crape, but matt-textured rather than glossy, and more pliable.[3][5] Challis could be made with woven designs, or printed.[5] 'French challis' has a glossy finish.[3] The designs were often floral, paisley, or geometric,[6] and based on French silk patterns.[3]

The term is derived from an Anglo-Indian word, shallee, which means 'soft'.[6] At least one source suggests the term is American Indian.[7]


  1. ^ Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898, by Stella Blum; published 1974 by Courier Corporation; via Google Books
  2. ^ Bulletin of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, volume 23, page 144; edited by S.N. Dexter North; published 1893; via Google Books
  3. ^ a b c d Dooley, William Henry (1924). Textiles for Commercial, Industrial, and Domestic Arts Schools. Istodia Publishing LLC. pp. 66–67. ISBN 9781449589363. 
  4. ^ Stauffer, Jeanne (2004). Sewing Smart with Fabric. DRG Wholesale. p. 106. ISBN 9781592170180. 
  5. ^ a b James, John (1857). History of the worsted manufacture in England: from the earliest times; with introductory notices of the manufacture among the ancient nations, and during the middle ages. Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. 
  6. ^ a b Maitra, K. K. (2007). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Clothing and Textiles. Mittal Publications. p. 72. ISBN 9788183242059. 
  7. ^ Pizutto, Joseph James; Arthur Price; Allen C. Cohen (1987). Fabric science. Fairchild Publications. p. 352. Retrieved 16 July 2013.